The study conducted by the researchers at the Neuroscientists at NYU Langone Medical Center on female mice, has shown that calorie-reduced diets stop the normal rise and fall in activity levels of close to 900 different genes linked to aging and memory formation in the brain.
Senior study investigator Stephen D. Ginsberg, said that their study showed how calorie restriction practically arrests gene expression levels involved in the aging phenotype-how some genes determine the behavior of mice, people, and other mammals as they get old. Ginsberg cautioned that the study did not mean calorie restriction was the “fountain of youth,” but that it did “add evidence for the role of diet in delaying the effects of aging and age-related disease.”
While restrictive dietary regimens have been well-known for decades to prolong the lives of rodents and other mammals, their effects in humans have not been well understood. Benefits of these diets have been touted to include reduced risk of human heart disease, hypertension, and stroke, Ginsberg notes, but the widespread genetic impact on the memory and learning regions of aging brains has not before been shown. Previous studies, he notes, have only assessed the dietary impact on one or two genes at a time, but his analysis encompassed more than 10,000 genes.
For the study, female mice, which like people are more prone to dementia than males, were fed food pellets that had 30 percent fewer calories than those fed to other mice. Tissue analyses of the hippocampal region, an area of the brain affected earliest in Alzheimer’s disease, were performed on mice in middle and late adulthood to assess any difference in gene expression over time.
The study was presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, D.C. (ANI)